Taiwan legislative committee suspended temporarily after employee from environmental agency infected with coronavirus

EPA employee the 8th member of tour group in Egypt to be diagnosed

EPA Minister Chang Tzi-chin attends legislative meeting March 23.

EPA Minister Chang Tzi-chin attends legislative meeting March 23. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An employee from the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has sickened 169 people and killed two in Taiwan as of Monday morning (March 23).

EPA Minister Chang Tzi-chin (張子敬) confirmed the news in a legislative session Monday morning. The Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee had been suspended temporarily until an official from the health ministry said that the risk of a cluster infection within the committee is quite low due to a lack of contact between its members and the infected patient.

The 60-year-old man, whose infection was confirmed on Sunday afternoon (March 22), was part of a tour group that had previously traveled to Egypt, according to Chang. Eight of the group’s 32 members have been confirmed to have the disease, including the recently diagnosed employee.

The infected employee returned to work on March 13, but on March 15 he was asked by the authorities to undergo two weeks of self isolation after the guide of the tour group had tested positive for the virus, said Chang. Four employees that had had contact with the infected patient were asked to work from home starting March 16, he said.

Chang declined to reveal further details regarding the patient. His working space was confined to the ground floor, said Chang, adding that the administration conducts disinfection regularly.